Narration - Lowell Thomas
Camera, Arthur Rossi
Editing, Ted Nemeth
This film was edited from footage taken in the 1931 in Mato Grosso Brazil, as a part of the Matto Grosso Expedition. The cameraman was Arthur Rossi. The primary published film "Matto Grosso, the Great Brazilian Wilderness" (1931) is likely the first documentary film shot with sync sound in the field, and certainly the first film released that depicted indigenous people speaking in their own language.
Anthropologist Vincenzo Petrullo set off with the camera man Arthur Rossi from the main expedition camp upstream to find people who they imagined might be less contacted by Europeans or Americans. They settled in a Xingu village for a short time, and shot the silent footage that can be seen in this film.
In 1941, again with the financial support of E.R. Fenimore Johnson, the University Museum hired Ted Nemeth, an independent producer, to re-cut some unused footage together with a new narration recorded by Lowell Thomas, the famous radio announcer and film producer, to create this new film. This film gives a culturally biased, prejudiced and ethnocentric misinterpretation of Xingu culture. We have recently found the script for the film and have no doubt that it was written by Petrullo, who was at the time still associated with the Museum and had gone on the original expedition. Petrullo's unpublished manuscript on the expedition is likewise full of his own bigoted views and reflects serious misunderstandings and mistakes throughout.
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